The current move to remote working, e-commerce, and remote access to systems and data has brought new challenges for IT. Quite apart from the demands for upgraded cyber security to cover for the new attack surfaces and vectors that appear daily, remote working brings new questions about how to provide remote support, the resources required, and how to manage the entire process.
While IT teams use various tools and technologies to remotely monitor and manage systems, they are still limited by the constraints of time, resources, and geographical locations. They cannot be physically present in multiple places simultaneously. However, they can remotely access and troubleshoot systems from a central location, which allows them to provide support and resolve issues.
IT teams can also prioritize their efforts based on the urgency and impact of the issues they are dealing with. Critical incidents might receive immediate attention, while less critical ones might have a longer response time.
In summary, while IT teams can provide remote support and work efficiently, they cannot be physically present everywhere at once due to practical limitations.
What is Remote Support Tools?
Before looking at tools and resources, it is helpful to define what we are providing in terms of support for remote working.
Remote IT support refers to the provision of technical assistance and troubleshooting services to users and clients from a distance. Instead of having an IT professional physically present at the location where the technical issue is occurring, remote IT support utilizes various tools and technologies to access and diagnose the problem remotely.
Key Features of Remote IT Support
At a high level, the key areas to be considered when looking at remote support include:
- Remote Access: IT technicians use remote access software to connect to the affected computer or device.
- Troubleshooting: The IT support team identifies and analyses the technical problem reported by the user.
- Issue Resolution: Once the problem is diagnosed, the IT technician works remotely to fix the issue.
- Communication: Effective communication between the IT support team and the user is crucial during the remote support process. This is often facilitated through phone calls, online chat, or video conferencing to guide the user through the troubleshooting steps.
- Security and Privacy: Remote IT support must be carried out securely to protect sensitive information.
- Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness: Remote IT support can be more efficient and cost-effective than on-site support, as it reduces travel time and expenses for IT technicians. It also enables IT teams to assist multiple users simultaneously.
- Geographical Flexibility: Remote IT support allows IT teams to assist users located in different regions or even in different countries, making it a valuable tool for organizations with a global presence.
In the case of large organisations, these requirements are likely to be met using an integrated applications package providing case management facilities, reporting and analysis features and possibly AI-assisted workflow management.
The use of chatbots and other automated support tools is becoming more common.
Remote Support Tools
The previous section set out the key features of a remote support service. Her are some tools to help achieve that objective.
There are various types of remote support tools available, each offering different features and capabilities.
Some of the common features found in remote support tools are set out below.
- Remote Desktop Access: The ability to view and control the remote computer’s desktop as if you were sitting in front of it. This allows technicians to diagnose and fix issues directly.
- File Transfer: The capability to transfer files between the local and remote machines, which is helpful for exchanging important data during support sessions.
- Chat and Voice Communication: Instant messaging or voice communication features facilitate real-time communication between the technician and the user being assisted.
- Session Recording: Some tools offer the option to record remote support sessions for documentation and training purposes.
- Remote Reboot/Restart: Ability to restart or reboot the remote computer, especially useful for troubleshooting and applying updates.
- Collaboration and Multi-User Sessions: Some tools allow multiple technicians to collaborate and work together in a single support session.
- Firewall and Security Settings: Many remote support tools use secure connections and implement encryption to protect sensitive data during remote sessions.
- Popular remote support tools include:
- TeamViewer: A widely used remote support tool that provides easy-to-use features for both personal and commercial use.
- AnyDesk: Known for its high-speed performance, AnyDesk enables fast and reliable remote connections.
- LogMeIn: Offers remote access solutions for individuals and businesses with various features.
- Splashtop: Provides remote access and support solutions for individuals and IT professionals.
- Windows Remote Desktop: Built into Windows operating systems, this tool allows remote access to Windows machines.
- Chrome Remote Desktop: A browser extension that allows remote access through the Google Chrome browser.
Please be aware that this list is not exhaustive, and you should treat the selection of remote support tools as a major project to ensure that the tools are fit for purpose, are compatible and meet your business objectives.
A large organisation might choose an integrated software application such as Heat to provide an integrated environment.
When using remote support tools, it’s important to prioritize security and ensure that appropriate permissions are granted for remote access to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data. Always use reputable and trusted remote support software to maintain the integrity of remote sessions and protect user privacy.